Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Drought and Mirage

Sydney is surrounded by water. However, along with much of the Australian continent, it is experiencing severe drought, and we have water restrictions - can't water gardens except on certain days at certain times, can't wash cars with a hose, and so on.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to convey the full severity of the drought without travelling outside the metropolitan area.

This is Lake George, on the road between Sydney and Canberra. Lake George is special because from time to time it disappears althogether, and at other times it is partially water, and also mirage. Many times you come across it and it APPEARS to be full, but it's just a mirage. Today there was a slight mirage in the distance, which you can see if you click on the pic to maximise it.

The lake has no stream flowing into it, so for many years it has remained a mystery as to where the water came from. It now appears it is fed through an underground aquifer system.

However, the real story here today is just how dry the country is, not terribly far inland (only a couple of hundred kilometres from the coast). Australia is a dry continent, true, but is this just a cyclical drought, or a symptom of more permanent climate change?


  1. is that the lake that supposedly has a counterpart in NZ, and one is only full when the other is empty and vice versa?

  2. I remember many years ago the government commisioned a study to see where the water went. After extensive investigation they concluded it evaporated.

  3. Oh my, just back in Sydney today and it looks like this country hasn't had much rain in my absence!

  4. Yikes, I remember visiting some families in San Francisco about 10 years ago when there was ration on water use. We had to recycle bath water for the commode and do laundry at the laundramat. Not fun! Now, looking back, I realize I take a lot of things for granted.